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36. However, even though he had such a wife at home, he consorted with actresses, harpists, and theatrical people, drinking with them on couches all day long. For these were the men who had most influence with him now: Roscius the comedian, Sorex the archmime, and Metrobius the impersonator of women, for whom, though past his prime, he continued up to the last to be passionately fond, and made no denial of it.1 [2] By this mode of life he aggravated a disease which was insignificant in its beginnings, and for a long time he knew not that his bowels were ulcerated. This disease corrupted his whole flesh also, and converted it into worms, so that although many were employed day and night in removing them, what they took away was as nothing compared with the increase upon him, but all his clothing, baths, hand-basins, and food, were infected with that flux of corruption, so violent was its discharge. [3] Therefore he immersed himself many times a-day in water to cleanse and scour his person. But it was of no use; for the change gained upon him rapidly, and the swarm of vermin defied all purification.

We are told that in very ancient times, Acastus the son of Pelias was thus eaten of worms and died, and in later times, Alcman the lyric poet, Pherecydes the theologian, Callisthenes of Olynthus, who was kept closely imprisoned, as also Mucius the jurist; and if mention is to be made of men who had no excellence to commend them, but were notorious for other reasons, it is said that the runaway slave who headed the servile war in Sicily,2 Eunus by name, was taken to Rome after his capture, and died there of this disease.

1 Cf. chapter ii. 4.

2 B.C. 134; cf. Diodorus, xxxiv. 2, 23.

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